By removing emotional trauma, EFT helps heal physical symptoms too.
Norm Shealy, MD
Author of Soul Medicine.
Using Rambling Language Within the EFT Tapping Process
In the Art of Delivery videos, you will see me using all kinds of language in my Setups and Reminder phrases that might not make complete sense to you yet. I call it Rambling, and it’s easy to see why because it looks like I’m just letting words spill out of my face. In fact, Rambling is a very sophisticated form of language that I use to gather information, evaluate different directions, and test results. It is guided by lots of experience, a fair amount of intuition, and a strong focus on the client’s reactions to my language.
Rambling can be seen as simply a combination of the language tools that you have learned previously in this section. We have introduced you to the foundational concepts of each tool so that you can understand the purposes and goals of each as you use them.
As you introduce them into your sessions, you will naturally develop your own style depending on how much of each tool you use. Some practitioners will spend more time with the client’s language to target disruptions more completely, others may start adding in Testing Methods like Say This or Triggering Statements earlier in the session, and some will focus more on Reframes. However, being completely fluent in all of the tools will allow you to move into more advanced territory and adjust your own style to fit what works best for each client.
Below are shorthand descriptions of some of the tools we have covered to date.
Customized Setups -
Accomplishing the original language goals (acknowledging the problem and accepting oneself in spite of the problem), but now with expanded versions of the client’s language and adding your own elaboration to enhance the description, assuming it lands with the client. Extending those descriptions beyond the KC point and out to the reminder points.
Encouraging a cognitive shift is added as a third goal to the language, and Reframes are used to propose new perspectives that the client can accept or reject. Those new perspectives are best presented once significant intensity has been released from the event or issue.
Connection to divine guidance can be used at your own discretion to select tools, provide language, or present reframes with the absolute requirement that you are checking your accuracy with your client.
Testing Methods have not been categorized as a language tool until now, but it’s easy to see that most tests are indeed conducted with language. At this level, you’ll see how Testing can be added in throughout the session.
Global vs Specific approaches -
Use a global approach to take the edge off or minimize emotional pain, use a specific approach for the rest of the process to find and address Specific Events contributing to the overall issue.
Detective Work -
Finding the “doors” or directions toward core issues and/or the specifics behind an issue. This is usually conducted in a global setting and can be enhanced by global rounds of tapping as they often peel away enough intensity to reveal helpful clues.
Each of the tools we have just reviewed can be used with varying degrees of skill. The articles in this Tutorial have taught the basic versions. As you may have already seen, if you combine even the basic levels of these language tools into your tapping rounds, your results with EFT can improve dramatically.
To understand the style I have developed in my Art of Delivery videos, you’ll need to recognize the more advanced uses of these tools, so we’ll explore those next.
Reframes as Testing Methods
Until now, Reframes have been used conservatively, after a significant release of intensity, to present a new perspective and encourage a cognitive shift. This is the most reliable way for your Reframes to land and accomplish the desired goal.
Now consider this…
When a reframe doesn’t land, what does that mean?
First, it means that the shift you proposed is not ready to happen. Is that failure? Or have you simply discovered more information?
Whenever you encounter resistance, you have also found more aspects and more energy disruptions.
Isn’t that the goal of a test, you ask? To dig up more aspects? Absolutely.
So now a Reframe can have two different goals:
- If it lands, you have a cognitive shift.
- If not, it serves as a test and you have new aspects.
As an example, note how I try a forgiveness reframe for Shelley and her asthma. After we are done, she reports that her breathing issues are a bit worse. This is a clue to the need for more emotional work.
Previously, we used Reframes in a conservative way so that we avoid the resistance. With experience, we can play with bolder Reframes, knowing that if they don’t land we can benefit from the new information they provide.
However, the timing will play an important part. We are still trying to focus on one part of each issue at a time, so throwing around a handful of bold reframes without a plan could make your testing more complicated and compromise the quality of your sessions.
Reframes to Take the Edge Off
In the Art of Delivery Videos, you will see me use a lot of Reframes at the beginning of the session while the intensity is obviously high.
- Is that a bold choice?
- Am I Testing?
- Am I honestly expecting a genuine cognitive shift right off the bat?
- Am I trying to take the edge off?
Actually, I am aware of all these possibilities when I deliver Reframe language. In the beginning of a session with an obviously traumatized client, my highest priority is to minimize their emotional pain, so I am trying to take the edge off. However, I am acutely aware of their reactions to my language, and I know their issues are easy to trigger, so I tread very carefully paying attention to what lands and what doesn’t.
I often use more humorous Reframes in the beginning to lighten the atmosphere. If my humor doesn’t land well, the client's pain may intensify, so I choose my jokes carefully. Experience and intuition are often my guides here. Here's an example of a light, humorous reframe with Betty at the beginning of her Borrowing Benefits session.
As you watch the full sessions in the Art of Delivery videos, see if you can evaluate how I’m doing with the following in mind.
- How bold are my Reframe choices?
- What risks do I take?
- Did my language land? If not, how did I adjust my course?
- What new information did we discover as a result?
Reframes as Detective Work
Let’s say someone comes to you with a chronic skin rash and you’re trying to narrow in on the most appropriate emotional issues you can find. Detective Work is the skill you need to employ here, but there are several ways to go forward.
- Using curiosity and good questions is the most obvious, straightforward way to find core issues, and you have learned that in Part IV.
- Basic global tapping can peel away layers of intensity from the overall issue and allow the client to provide more insight.
- Adding Reframes into global tapping rounds is a way to present possibilities to the client that they may not come up with themselves. In other words, you may have a suspicion or two about how the issues are connected, and by presenting those in a tapping round, your client might be more open to them.
Until you find the issues and events that are contributing to the rash, you already know two things: (1) the rash and the contributing issues/event(s) will be connected in some way by the Writing on the client’s Walls and (2) the most intense issues/events are often the most effective to address.
With Writing on the Walls in mind, you can use Reframe language in your Setups to investigate the connections. For instance, if you already knew that the client went through a divorce about the same time the rash started, you might try a Setup like this:
“Even though I have this rash on my skin, and maybe it has something to do with my divorce….”
If you can see from your client’s reaction that this part is landing, you might continue this way:
…or maybe it has something to do with feeling rejected.”
Your client might completely disagree, in which case you can try another direction or ask more questions, but if the client says “oh yeah, I think you’re right” then you may have found a direct route into a core issue.
In the video clip below, I first work with Betty who describes her issue as a fear of putting herself forward. One obvious direction would be to ask her for Specific Events in which she put herself forward and it went badly. Another option is to find out what the Tabletop or core issue is behind putting herself forward. Once you know that, then you can move forward with related Specific Events or Table Legs that might be further in the past and/or more influential to her issue. In this case, as I use Reframes to take the edge off, I also experiment with the “need to be perfect” and find that it lands nicely. This suggests that we have found an “I should be perfect” Tabletop.
After that, you’ll see a global tapping round with Colleen about her nervousness on stage that quickly led to “I may not do it right.” Because that landed so nicely, I continued with that train of thought and landed squarely on a potential cause for her Chronic Fatigue.
Finally, there is a tapping round with Shelley who is working on her Asthma. You’ll see how I start in one direction and keep adjusting until I land on something really useful. Following this video are some perspectives. You might wish to peruse them before watching.
With Betty did you see how “I should be perfect” is a more specific than “Fear of putting myself forward?” In this case, the new information we uncovered is more likely to represent the Writing on her Walls or a core belief that is affecting her experience, and therefore, a better place to start. With this new information, I will explore Table Legs in which she wasn’t perfect, and try to collapse the Tabletop. In the full session we reduced “I should be perfect” down to a fear of rejection which is a deeper issue still.
Consider the same question with Colleen … did you see how “I need to be perfect” is more specific than “I have Chronic Fatigue?”
And with Shelley, “you’re smothering me and I can’t breathe” is much better material than “I have Asthma.”
Several of the Testing Methods you have already learned are language based, and with experience, you can use them at any point in the process. We know with testing that we are trying to trigger new intensity, i.e. new aspects, and until now, you may have only been using them at the end of a session.
You might try working them in at the end of each crescendo in a Tell the Story Technique and eventually you will see appropriate spots in your conversation between rounds to try some Humor, ask for a Say This test, or throw in some zinger to see if you can catch your client off guard with a phrase that was full of intensity for them. You can also work them in casually in a playful manner.
Here is a video example:
You’ll see many examples of Testing in the Art of Delivery videos and how they can be used in different ways during a session. They are all marked with helpful alerts on the screen.
Going farther with Customized Setup Language
Just like Reframes, Customized Setup Language can also range from conservative to bold. On the conservative side, we focus just enough on the problem to make a difference with the tapping. By expanding the language into a more complete description, we strengthen the focus and target the disruption more accurately and with more expression. On the bold side, we can use elaboration to be more provocative with the language and let the true emotions come out.
As you may already know from experience, the more emotional impact we can include in the language, the more intensity we can usually generate. When we want to manage emotional pain and keep the intensity in check, we stay on the conservative side. When we’re ready to dig up more aspects and be sure the intensity has been truly released we can be more provocative.
Let’s say your client wants to address some anger with her husband. He has been dismissing his domestic responsibilities so that he can play golf, leaving her with three kids, a household and a full time job to maintain. They recently had an argument about it in which he said “Golf is more important to me,” so let’s assume we’re addressing that event for illustration.
The standard language is generally the most conservative. We use a few words to describe the problem and maintain that focus through the round. While a few words can provide enough focus on the disruption, it can also allow the client to maintain some degree of detachment from the issue. Going back to Standard Language is still very useful when a client’s intensity has gone over the top. In that case, we want to provide some detachment and back off the intensity a little while still maintaining the focus.
Setup language might be: “Even though I am angry with my husband for playing golf, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Reminder Phrases might be: “I’m angry” or “This anger”
By using the client’s full description, we encourage a better expression of the problem which adds more emotional connection and often increases intensity.
Setup language might be: “Even though he said golf is more important than our life together and that makes me really angry because I’m stuck here with all the work, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Reminder Phrases might be: “I’m angry,” “Our life isn’t important to him,” and/or “I’m stuck here with all the work.”
When we suggest additional language to enhance the client’s description, the goal is to describe the problem better. This adds even more emotion and more expression to the process, and often results in stronger intensity as the client becomes even more connected to the problem.
Setup language might be: “Even though he keeps choosing golf over me and he doesn’t care if it hurts me, I feel like I’m being abandoned, and that makes me really angry because I’m too tired to do all of this work by myself, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Reminder Phrases might be: “He chooses golf over me,” “I’m hurt and he doesn’t care,” “I’m being abandoned,” “I’m so angry with him,” and/or “I’m tired of doing everything.”
Taking elaboration and emotional connection to the extreme, you can also work with language that would be considered shocking, provocative, or “less than polite” in order to draw out any remaining intensity on an issue/event. This can include swear words, graphic descriptions of event details, or even more expanded descriptions of the client’s reaction to the event. Rather than putting words in the client’s mouth, this is really an opportunity for the client to say what she really means rather than maintaining some kind of polite composure. This approach will require good rapport, so don’t go there unless the client is comfortable.
Setup language might be: “Even though I built my life around that bastard, and he thinks a goddamned golf ball is more valuable than I am, I deeply and completely accept myself. He’s a selfish prick for leaving me with all of this responsibility and I could f’in strangle him for not caring. “
Reminder Phrases might be: “I built my life around that bastard,” “What a selfish prick,” “I could f’in strangle him,” and/or “He doesn’t care.”
Can you see how this kind of expression might be more in line with what the client actually feels? The more accurate we can be about their disruption, the more success we’ll have in correcting it.
Hopefully you have been conservative and very diligent about confirming your own language with your client. If so, and your elaborations are landing with good success, you might try experimenting with language that is more direct or more provocative to see if you can dig up more intensity.
Overall, we’re looking for intensity, and we’re either trying to minimize it or find more of it. We have structures and tools to keep the details organized, but your language can be a way to help you dig it up in a new way. Reframes that don’t land accomplish the same goal as a test, in that they trigger new aspects. Being more provocative with your client’s language can trigger new aspects. Testing methods, humor, any kind of language you have learned can now just be another way to look for new aspects, find new doors or confirm that something has been cleared.
The Bottom Line
Being this creative with EFT is truly a lot of fun, but … when you Ramble your way through a tapping round, how do you know it worked? How do you know the more disorganized, free-flowing language has done a better job than the basic tools as they have been taught?
The answer ... Testing.
By adding more creativity to your process, it often comes at the sacrifice of the methodical, specific approach of Official EFT. To represent that you are indeed delivering Official EFT the way this Tutorial has taught it, you must be sure that the original structures are still intact. Specific Events, Aspects, Testing methods, Tell the Story, Tabletops, Table Legs, etc. must provide the overall framework for your sessions or you run the risk of getting “lost in the language” as so many EFT Practitioners before you have done.
What are you Testing? Something Specific. Be sure you know what disruption you are addressing with your language before you start the tapping round, and then test the same disruption when you’re done. Beware of the temptation to use Rambling Setups on Global Issues and then Test the Global Issue to see if you have made progress. If you use creative language in a global approach, you need to get down to the specifics eventually.
Finally, the client always has the last word. If you get lost in the language you may overlook your client’s subtle resistance to it. The most important skill in this level of EFT is focus, because while you are delivering language, you are also conducting experiments. You need to keep all the aspects straight, know exactly what you’re testing with each round, watch all of your client’s reactions, and process any new information on the fly. This becomes increasingly more complicated when you have a client with a serious disease or mental condition and a maze of emotional issues to work through.
Keep in mind that standard tools are still extremely effective if you are maintaining the Triad: Being Specific, Aspects and Testing. Venture out in to more creative uses whenever you like, but don’t lose your focus on the basics.
© Gary Craig
All Rights Reserved
Please note: This Tutorial, while useful, was replaced in 2014 by my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. More efficient. More powerful. Full explanation given in my free, easy-to-read e-book, The Unseen Therapist.